Video promotion is a scary idea to a lot of small businesses. Most business owners will immediately think about the many complications that come with it. I don’t have time, I don’t have the money, and I don’t even know where to start, are just a few worries that instantly come to mind. Fortunately, that’s where a new program designed by YouTube will come in.
It’s called YouTube Director onsite, and it is designed to help grow your business. The program is available in over 170 cities around the U.S. and is designed to help you leverage YouTube’s enormous user base. The “price point” is really the biggest selling point for this program. For only $350 dedicated to advertising the video on YouTube, they will make the video for FREE! That’s right, the video is completely free, and your investment goes directly to ad spend.
How the Program works:
A director will get in contact and will get to know you and your business. They will then discuss a script and create a plan for the upcoming shoot.
The video will be filmed on site and an edited final cut will be sent to you within 7-10 business days.
Put your new video to good use with the $350 ad spend on YouTube. A Google advertising expert will help set up your video ad and get it positioned to target the right customers for you.
Another legal marketing firm found itself in hot ethical water today… “Exclusive Legal Marketing,” headed by Coety Bryant utilized Google AdWords to purchase names of personal injury attorneys to drive prospects to his site www.personalinjurycare.net. Aggressive – and many attorneys bristle at this – especially ads coming from a non-law firms – but not necessarily unethical. Note, there are numerous directories and vendors already capitalizing on lawyer name search via SEO – Yelp, Lawyers.com, and Avvo (I spent a good 3 years of my life studying name search there). Even Google’s Google My Business service is essentially nothing more than name search – especially for practitioner listings.
But herein lies the rub. The two attorneys filing suit, Schiff and Kurgis specifically noted that it was the fact that the marketing company wouldn’t tell the prospective client that they weren’t the lawyer in question. From Biz Journals:
“Schiff or Kurgis alleged that in many cases, those people thought they were speaking with Schiff and Kurgis associates.”
According to Avvo, there aren’t any lawyers named Coety Bryant. I’ll also note that Bryant’s website specifically calls out the opportunity to speak to an attorney.
As do his ads…
I dug a bit deeper and found some of his ads archived. Here’s an example of his ad biding against another personal injury lawyer’s name: Jim Adler in Houston.
Now it seems Bryant was banking some serious money with this approach – bidding on lawyer names, not disclosing who he actually was, and then reselling these leads to other lawyers. A little research shows his budgets exceeding $75K per month back in May of 2017.
My Take on Competitive Name Bidding:
Let me be upfront – Mockingbird raises the competitive name bidding opportunity for all of our clients. It’s aggressive yes, but NOT unethical (nor against Google’s guidelines, as long as the name isn’t in the ad…i.e. Coke can bid on “Pepsi” but can’t pretend the click goes through to a Pepsi site.) Not all of our attorneys are comfortable with this approach. But…if you are fully transparent about who a prospect is speaking with, competitive name bidding is an effective, albeit aggressive tactic. Additionally, you should bid on your own name (as Adler does above) as a cost-effective defensive posture.
I thought my expose on the Lawyers of Distinction Scam (in which my kid’s pet chicken, Zippy made it through the LOD’s vetting process) may have pushed them to quiet down. Apparently NOT. Yesterday, Lawyers of Distinction mass spammed thousands of Lawyers (and a handful of non-lawyers), falsely suggesting someone had nominated them for this bogus, unvetted, bullshit and otherwise misleading “award”.
How do I know?
Yesterday, Mockingbird’s site got pummeled with SEO based traffic to the Lawyers of Distinction articles we’ve posted.
Looks like an email was spammed out around 10:00 am PST yesterday, and many of those email recipients decided to undertake a modicum of research before plunking down the equivalent of a (very) nice car payment for a piece of lacquered wood and some self supplication for a fragile ego.
There was a smattering of web chatter about these faux “nominations.” Here’s Helen Bukulmez:
And not all “lawyer” nominations were even for lawyers…here’s a comment from Abby Peretz:
I received notification that I, too, am eligible for this distinguished “award!” Here’s the catch: I’m a law student. I don’t hold a license anywhere. My law review Note hasn’t been published yet (but will be soon!). The extent of my legal experience derives from a few very meaningful, wonderful externships in various practice areas, including consumer protection. Jesse’s email to me is a big fat UDAP. I’m tempted to pass it along to some folks I know.
I don’t know where all of these email addresses were sourced from, and I don’t care. So – if you ego is blinding your ability to connect the dots…no one nominated you. You are being played. You are being pitched an overpriced plaque that you have to pay for EACH YEAR! Still don’t believe me…come talk to Zippy, she can set you straight.
Part II: The Marketing Lesson
If you want more than a rant out of this post, here’s your opportunity:
I’m going to use this example to show how NOT all traffic is equal. In general, I get annoyed with lawyers focused on ranking reports (a useless metric for determining how well your site is performing). Instead we prefer to look at actual traffic. BUT…and this is a big BUT…not all traffic is created equal. You can see here that despite the massive influx of traffic to our site, we received just one single inquiry from the article – meaning just 0.035% of readers were interested in inquiring about hiring us.
It’s going to take a lot of readers to build a business on that performance. In contrast, our typical contact rate is 0.5%. So clearly not all traffic is created equal. BUT – and here’s the counterpoint to my argument – some high volume pages do eventually generate an inquiry. Note #3 in the matrix above: our typically most read article is a post about setting up a google email account. The vast vast majority of readers who read this aren’t lawyers; they aren’t looking for marketing assistance; and almost none of them are lawyers looking for marketing assistance. BUT…we did get one inquiry from that post yesterday. So…in summary, not all traffic is created equal; however, enough volume can eventually generate business.
File this one under another egregious example of tech salespeople peddling overpriced, ineffectual products at the legal community. I spoke with an attorney today who drops around $1,400 a month for a bundle of services including the FindLaw Digital Marketing Boost and FindLaw Engagement Builder, and the FindLaw Social Media Marketing Tool. Now, I’ve written ad nauseam about the idiocy of most social media marketing in legal, so I was curious exactly what FindLaw is pushing. And for $1,400 bucks every month. That’s like having twins attend an overpriced east coast prep school.
So what does the FindLaw Social Media Marketing Tool deliver?
It lets you schedule blog posts to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Plus (and let’s not get caught up on the fact that FindLaw is still referring to Google Plus as if it’s a relevant product.)
Seems to me, the free Hootsuite subscription and/or a well chosen WordPress plug-in is more than enough. To call this Social Media Marketing Platform out as a separate, value added line item is ludicrous. It’s like paying extra for a speedometer on a car or laces with a pair of shoes.
If you’d like to prove me wrong, please do so…here’s a link to the Quick Start Guide: FindLaw Social Media Product. I can just hear the commissioned salesman pushing the transformative promise of social media marketing.
Just the latest example of a big box company taking it to lawyers who don’t understand. And if you think I’m overstating the case here, this proposal included a rate hike for his monthly website hosting – increasing by about $175 a month to just over $800 monthly. Oh – and that rate? Locked in for another 12 months.
This morning, Google announced an updated setting allowing users to turn off retargeting ads (which they euphemistically refer to as “reminder ads”.
“Reminder ads like these can be useful, but if you aren’t shopping for Snow Boot Co.’s boots anymore, then you don’t need a reminder about them,” – Jon Krafcik, Google
Note that in legal, these retargeting ads have been hit or miss – with some practice areas completely verboten due to privacy concerns (although some lucky PI advertisers still have been able to sneak through the Google ad review process. However, other practice areas that have a less personal nature (take business litigation for an extreme example), retargeting is incredibly effective, as the cost is extremely low to reach people who have already expressed an interest by being on a site.
Will this have a big impact? I’d say yes – Google accounts for roughly 90% of the retargeting market. However, it will ultimately be the ease (or difficulty) with which individual users can opt out of specific ads that will dictate the impact this change has on advertisers’ retargeting campaigns.
Yesterday I wrote about how using ROI is an almost impossible task for agencies (ROI – the Marketing Catchphrase Agencies Just Don’t Get), despite the fact that so many of them use the term regularly in their marketing efforts. One of the biggest problems with a simplistic approach towards ROI is that fallacious assumption that your marketing efforts primary business metric should be to maximize ROI.
Because ROI is expressed as a percentage, maximum ROI should rarely be the goal of a marketing effort. I’ll use the simple case of YellowPages advertising to illustrate my point. Now, we all know that nobody looks at the Yellow Pages anymore. And nobody advertises in them. Like never. Poor starving Yellow Pages. This widespread consensus has led to rapidly declining costs for Yellow Pages advertising – the laws of supply and demand being what they are.
Some people do read the Yellow Pages. And that back of the YP book cover that used to cost $50,000 is now only $500. And that ONE client a month who called you that year because of that ad…generated a huge ROI b/c the cost of acquiring them was only $41.66 ($500/12 months). Yet a law firm does not subside, let alone grow on one client a month. So this massively profitable campaign, which generated the firm’s highest ROI across all of their marketing channels should never be thrown out, but it should never be depended on either. An agency following the “Maximize ROI” maxim from their marketing materials would have put this law firm out of business.
Over the years, I’ve written a variety of posts to help law firms separate the SEO wheat from the chaff herehere and here. It seems the same level of either gross ineptitude or deliberate opportunism has firmly planted itself in the AdWords world as well. So I bring you, four very uncomfortable questions you should ask your current or prospective AdWords agency.
Access – Do you have access to your AdWords account? We provide our clients with Admin level access to their AdWords accounts. If you don’t even have read access to your account, what is your agency hiding? My perspective is that it is YOUR account, we get to work on it, not the other way around. Without access, this means that if clients leave their agency – they have to start all over again – this is a great model for the agency, but horrendous for the law firm.
Reporting – Does your AdWords accurately track all types of conversions through sophisticated reporting infrastructure to get granular on conversions – phone, form, chat and even text messaging. This means you can dial in to the actual keyword, or ad within an A/B test to tell you what’s working.
Payment Transparency – we are crystal clear with what % of our spend goes to Google and what goes to us…. Ask you agency the same question and see just how straightforward they are with your dollars.
Exclusivity – I don’t believe we can effectively (or ethically) advertise on the same Channel (AdWords) for two different clients in the same market at the same time.
And note, I’m not getting all high and mighty suggesting you should only hire a Google Premier Partner. There are a (sprinkling) of solid AdWords agency’s not in Google’s program, BUT they are few and far between.
Creative advertising is usually reserved to large companies like Budweiser or Nationwide, but every now and then we’re graced with the hilarity that is ridiculous attorney advertising. Here are my favorite 3 videos below for viewing pleasure.
With the overwhelming number of channels and tactics available to market yourself to potential clients, it’s easy to overlook the one item with the greatest ability to drive conversions: authenticity.
While it’s easy to write off “be yourself” as trite advice, it’s equally easy to get swept up chasing new opportunities and lose sight of what makes you or your business unique. There’s a natural inclination to want to be all things to all people, but in many cases the result ends up being a watered-down message devoid of any personality.
Very few businesses have the ability to scale effectively and service an entire category of the marketplace. For everyone else, carving out and owning a niche is the more realistic path to success.
Even Amazon started as a bookseller and slowly added new categories over time. Is there any reason to think your practice is so remarkable it can offer solutions for every possible type of client?
The most successful firms we work with are the ones with a clear vision. They know who they are, they know exactly what their market is, and they’ve built their messaging around communicating and reinforcing the value of the services they provide.
Some of the best legal marketing stems from attorneys willing to embrace who they are and inject personality into their business.
There’s a reason attorney bios are typically among the most viewed pages on a website. People want to know who they’ll be working with.
More importantly, people want to work with the person they think will be best suited to help solve their problem. That means it’s often better to be the ideal solution for a small group than one potential solution for a large pool of “shoppers.”
What does this mean in practice?
Embrace what makes you different.
You may have seen this ridiculous ad for Bryan Wilson, the Texas Law Hawk:
Is this ad going to turn off a lot of people? Probably.
Is the ad memorable? Absolutely.
He’s not going to convert everyone, but for a specific type of client he’s exactly what they’re looking for. The same goes for TV’s fictitious Saul Goodman. Say what you will about his ethics, the man understands good marketing.
Highlighting the things about yourself that make you unique can be the best path to increasing conversions.
Are you a “type A” fighter? Might as well embrace it. People are going to find out anyway, so target searches for “Bulldog Attorney” or “Vicious Divorce Lawyer” and try to solidify your reputation for toughness.
Do you prefer a less confrontational approach? Emphasize your skills in mediation and working towards a thoughtful resolution.
Even if your personality is the equivalent of plain oatmeal, you can build value around your ability to get the job done without being flashy.
The key is to honestly assess what makes you unique and spin it to your advantage.
Once you’ve developed a voice for your brand it’s easier to figure out what clients are likely to hire you and where you should be advertising in order to reach them.
You don’t need to resonate with everyone in order to be successful. What you need to do is resonate with the people you’re already best suited to help and convince them of your value. If you can do that, the rest of your marketing starts to fall into place.